Running a business is a big task on its own. However, building a successful online business can be quite challenging, especially when you don’t know where to start. If you’re looking for a career change and want to be your own boss, this expert guide will give you the run down on some of the powerful steps that you can take to build and run a successful business online.
Best Practices For Building Your Online Business
01. Decide The Purpose Of Your Business
The first step in building and running your online business is first deciding what the purpose of it is; products or services. If you’re considering a product based business there’s a few key things you need to keep in mind when choosing a product that you’re going to sell. These include:
- All products need to be shipped at some point. Keep this in mind as larger products may prove difficult to ship.
- Can your product become a digital product such as a download, app or eBook? This will help to save on shipping costs.
- Search for a product niche and work around this as focusing on a few key products is better than trying to arrange multiple different items. When you expand your business, you can then look at expanding your product stock list.
- Check where you can source your products from and whether they’re affordable enough for you to make a profit after shipping. Sites such as Alibaba.com allows for bulk orders and are generally fairly affordable depending on the product.
By concluding the purpose of your business, you can then look into:
02. Researching Your Target Audience
Before building your online store, you need to know that the products you’ve chosen to sell are in demand from your audience. You need to know who your target audience is and whether or not you can supply what they need in a more attractive way than what your competitors are offering them at. When researching your audience, you need to consider:
- The sex and age of your audience and whether it’s gender orientated. (nursing pads, maternity items etc.)
- An estimate of their income and how much they may be able to spend.
- What their behaviors are and whether they have a specific persona. Example: confident, outgoing, spontaneous, cautious buyer, or big spender.
- Their location and whether they want to buy local or are happy to have it shipped internationally.
Take your time when researching your target audience as this is key as to whether or not your business will survive.
03. Research Your Competition
Researching your major competition is important because you want to make sure you can deliver more than what they can. When researching your competition, there’s a few different things you need to consider. These include:
- What marketing channels are they using?
- What makes them different to other competitors in your industry?
- Can you offer your customers more than what your competition can?
- Where do they sit in Google search rankings?
- Identify their social media channels and see what they are offering/do to engage their followers.
- Visit their website to see how they represent themselves.
- Do they use specific keywords or ads to gain the position they’re in?
In researching your competition you’ll have a higher chance of being able to rise above them and work on becoming more successful and more popular than they are.
04. Build Your Online Presence
- Hire a website developer who knows what they’re doing and has a portfolio of their previous work.
- Make sure the website has a responsive and mobile friendly design.
- Ensure the navigation points are easy to find and only travel around three tiers deep as this will help to avoid confusion.
- Always make sure the colors match or are contrasting. Only use around 3 different colors at the most to help reduce the risk of your website becoming too overwhelming.
- Ensure the site that you setup can support the amount of products you’re looking to sell without lagging in website speed.
- You will also need to get buyer protection protocols in place. Google trusted signatures help to give your business credibility.
- Offer multiple payment options. People pay with different options so it’s good to have multiple options available as this will help to boost more sales.
- Make sure all content on your website is unique, grammar free, and has no spelling mistakes. Mistakes throughout your content, or having duplicate content will affect your website ranking and your reputation.
- Make sure Google Analytics is setup to help track your performance.
By hiring a professional website design agency or a professional developer, they should be able to guide you on what’s needed to create a website that rivals your competition.
05. Track Your Performance
- Conversion Rate – This is how many visitors made a purchase.
- Traffic Sources – This is the location of where visitors are coming from.
- Bounce rate – The visitor percentage that leaves your website before they actually have a look at it.
- Unique Visitors – The amount of unique new visitors that enter your site.
- Map overlay -The different states or countries where the visitors are coming from.
- Product Performance – Shows the products that are popular and the ones that aren’t.
Tracking your online business’s performance is essential to know whether changes are required.
Setting up and running an online business is a challenging task, however if you take the time to do your research and follow these tips you can create a powerful online business that is second to none. Are you ready to start your online business?
About the author: Steven McMeechan is a strategic marketing and communications specialist with over twenty years’ experience in senior marketing management roles across a range of industries including Information Technology and Financial Services. He works for Capstone Financial Planning and lives in Melbourne Australia.